Washington: As authorities investigate the rampant shooting incident at a movie hall during a showing of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises in Denver, Colorado, psychologists have said that James Holmes, one of the two masked gunmen, who stalked the aisles at the theatre with a rifle, may be delusional.
Experts have said that it`s hard to know what Holmes`s state of mind might have been before his alleged rampage, but emerging details seem suggest that the 24 yr-old was a deeply disturbed individual.
“He said he was the Joker,” one law enforcement official told ABC News, referring to a villain from the Batman series. Another police official claimed that the suspect had dyed his hair red to resemble the character.
Witnesses said a shooter, dressed in a riot helmet, bulletproof vest and a gas mask, and carrying a rifle and a handgun, entered the movie theater about 20 or 30 minutes into the film.
The gunman reportedly set off a smoke bomb, and then began methodically stalking the aisles, shooting patrons at random as some tried to flee.
According to the report, Holmes was a PhD student in the neuroscience department of the University of Colorado at Denver. In a statement, the university said Holmes was in the process of withdrawing from the program after enrolling in June 2011.
Psychologists claimed that Holmes was likely living in a world of alternate reality, suffering from delusions of threats and making plans to make right things that he perceived were wrong.
“This is not a person that gets in bar fights and hurts other people. They`re more likely to make statements about how they`re going to get people. Those people are going to see they`ll know who he is, and they`ll be sorry,” Dr Stevan Hobfoll, a professor of behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, was reported as saying.
Another expert, Dr Felipe Amunategui, who is an Associate Training Director for child and adolescent psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland believed that “in general, these people tend to be socially inept and alienated from the mainstream.”
Police estimates have said that 14 people were killed and nearly 50 were injured in the incident.
Officials arrested Holmes in the parking lot of the movie theatre while his partner is still on the loose.